Campus Life: Students Ready for Next Step
By Dianne Anderson
College students are struggling through the rest of the school year of online learning with teachers running on a short emotional fuse as Zoom and other study platforms are crashing.
TaQuera Evans has been working around lots of limitations, but she says she can’t wait to return to the brick and mortar classrooms.
She misses the synergy of traditional learning, not to mention the thought of getting a break from technology.
“There’s a lot of technical difficulties, not being able to log on to Blackboard because there are so many students are on it at that time, it’s a lot,” said Evans, a freshman at Cal State University, San Bernardino.
Life behind the laptop has created a sense of complacency that not only impacts students, but also the teachers, she said.
Emails take forever to get answered. “I don’t think the teachers’ efforts are coming through as strongly as they used to help the students. Personally, I feel like everyone is relaxed and not taking it as seriously as they used to,” she said.
In the meantime, it’s all about attitude and chin up. She is determined to keep focused and finish out the school year strong.
“With everything being online, I’m pretty much ripping my hair out by the roots, but I’m blessed,” she laughs.
Frederick Jones is grinding through pulling a double load of studies while working full time through his first year at CSUSB, having graduated just last year with his associate’s degree from San Bernardino Valley College. He plans to graduate in the fall with his bachelor’s in communications.
For him, community college was a great way to reduce costs, but getting through the program in one year was a matter of timing. In some ways, he said the lockdown was a curse and a blessing.
“It was a blessing for me to be able to do all that and still keep my grades up,” he said. “It’s a lot, but if we weren’t in the pandemic, I probably would be slowing down more. I was able to handle it last semester. I might as well continue to go.”
Big dates are coming up. Those in their freshman year at CSUSB are gearing up for orientation. Others at UCR are on the lookout for the July 15 opening to apply for winter 2022, which is next January.
Jones plans to pursue his MBA. He said that winter 2022 comes fast and students need to think about getting their applications ready if they plan to transfer.
“In a few months be ready to submit your stuff,” said Jones, who also is a professional expert for San Bernardino Valley College, and past president of the Tumaini program there. “Your financial aid already needs to be done, but some do not cover winter and summer with financial aid. Some may qualify for various programs.”
July is only three months away, which is when UCR opens up for transfer applicants for the filing period for winter 2022.
The university touts their financial aid packages are excellent with 90% of UCR undergraduate students receiving some form of financial aid, and that 67% of their students’ financial needs are met with need-based aid.
Emily Engelschall, interim associate vice chancellor of enrollment services, said their undergraduate admissions has a Community Engagement and Outreach unit dedicated and directly working with the underserved community.
They also have an initiative to implement 16 action plans around recruitment to improve the number of Black students applying to UCR.
“Themes of this work include strengthening our work with both faith based and community based organizations, exposing and connecting admitted Black students to support services on campus. We begin working with the Black student community as early as middle school in order to increase the pipeline and relationships we are developing with students and families,” she added.
At CSUSB, Tiffany Bonner, Ed.D., Director at the Office of Outreach & Student Recruitment, said the extended application deadline to apply to CSUSB for the fall passed February 1. Winter session admissions are not available at CSUSB.
But they will open applications for Spring 2022 to Upper Division Transfer Students on August 1 through August 30 to non-impacted majors in Pre-Criminal Justice, Pre-Psychology, Pre-Social Work, Kinesiology- Allied Health, and Pre-Nursing.
Financial assistance in the form of grants is available, which covers most tuition costs for the summer.
Bonner said they have conducted several presentations to outreach to Black students, and participated in the annual CSU Super Sunday with representatives and campus administrators in connecting with local Black churches to provide college admission information.
Coming out of the pandemic lockdown, she said a host of resources will be available for students as they return to campus. Incoming students must attend an orientation to learn about campus affinity groups, and learn how to access academic advisors to support students and address concerns.
In the past year, the financial aid office also brought on a financial wellness coordinator and has outreached with partners to provide educational resources to pay for college.
“This has especially been helpful as many parents attend our virtual sessions, so it allows for families to make informed decisions on the financial elements of their educational journey,” she said.
For CSUSB scholarship opportunities, see https://www.csusb.edu/financial-aid/current-students/scholarships
To see CSUSB Covid vaccine requirements, https://www.csusb.edu/covid-19